Police cracking down on train-track walkers - abc27 WHTM

Police cracking down on train-track walkers

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Walking on train tracks is something many of us have done. However, it can be dangerous and it is illegal.

Norfolk Southern and Amtrak police were in Lebanon Tuesday to sound the horn about railroad safety.

"When I was little, we used to play on the railroad tracks. We used to do the pennies so it would smash the pennies," said Anthony Eggert, who lives near train tracks in the city.

If you are only putting a penny on the tracks or even walking the rails, it is considered trespassing.

Norfolk Southern officials also said it is not permissible to take photographs on the train tracks.

"Professional photographers who want to take senior portraits, wedding photos, I've even had experience with professional photographers who put babies on train tracks to take their portraits. It's illegal and you're putting your clients at risk by doing that," said Dave Pidgeon, a Norfolk Southern spokesman.

If you are caught, you could end up paying up to $300 in fines.

Think you will not get caught? Think again. Railroad police are always on patrol; keeping people on-track by keeping them off the tracks.

"They have the power to arrest and they have the power to charge. It's one of the few private industries in the U.S. that can have its own police force," Pidgeon said.

If that is not enough warning, consider this: since 2000, three people have been killed while walking on train tracks in Lebanon County.

"It puts your safety and your life in danger if you're trying to beat a train at a crossing or if you think that you may have time to get out of the way when you're walking on the track," Pidgeon said. "Chances are you don't have time to get out of the way."

Pidgeon also said it is not safe to walk near parked trains because they can start moving at any moment.

The trains weigh several thousand tons and travel anywhere from 40 to 60 miles per hour. It takes them a full mile to come to a complete stop.

"I will not take any shortcuts to the grocery store that route," Eggert said.

Norfolk Southern officials said Midstaters are especially at risk because they live in a particularly busy corridor. Officials said people in Lebanon are at the most risk because the tracks run right through the center of town.

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